Allow me to introduce readers to a pair of highly respected extraterrestrial members of the movie monster community: Alien and Predator. Technically, both these monsters are aliens, as they both come from outside of Earth. For the purpose of this paper, Alien spelled with a capital A refers to the monster from the Alien films, whereas alien with a lowercase a refers to both monsters.
Alien is a terrifying monster with acid for blood that grows inside the body of a human host, having been planted there by a spiderlike creature dubbed the "facehugger" and waits for an opportune time to burst out, killing the host, and begin its reign of terror. It will kill anyone it comes across and is itself very hard to kill. Alien is a terrifying creature. There is just such a sense of dread whenever these creatures are around. Alien first appeared in the 1979 film Alien in which a commercial vessel deep in space finds an egg in a derelict alien spacecraft on an uninhabited planet which plants the creature in one of their crew members, causing death and despair aboard their ship. This film spawned three sequels; Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien: Resurrection.
Predator is also a creature one would not want as an enemy. This monster is a high-tech hunter from another planet that comes to Earth and uses its advanced weapons, which one could never imagine a human using, to kill humans for sport. Predator can turn virtually invisible to the human eye, has no fear of gunfire, and supposedly out of some sort of honor code will not harm an unarmed opponent. Predator makes its first appearance in the 1987 film Predator in which a team of elite soldiers led by none other than the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger travels into the Central American jungle and is ambushed by this horrific beast. This film has one sequel; Predator 2.
These two motion pictures, both of which with all the blood, violence, and cursing had a well-earned R rating, amassed a large fan base and made a fortune, producing toy lines, sequels, and an idea: These monsters should battle one another. It was only logical that they would, if they ever had an encounter. Predator hunted dangerous creatures for pleasure, and Alien was a very dangerous creature; the perfect prey. This idea produced comic books, video games and, in the year 2004, a movie titled, predictably enough, Alien vs. Predator. This film had been long anticipated by fans but when it finally came out was met with disappointment. Moviegoers thought the plot was dumb and were displeased with the PG-13 rating, given that all of the Alien and Predator movies had been rated R. In 2007, a fresh new attempt at this concept was titled Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, and here we will explore one question: Was the idea successful the second time around? Disclaimer: I have not seen Alien: Resurrection, and if I, through lack of knowledge make any erroneous statements, I apologize in advance.
One big complaint that many people had with Alien vs. Predator (the first one) was its PG-13 rating. Many felt that this rating did not fit because all of the movies in both franchises were rated R. A good decision in the making of Requiem was to bring back the original R rating of the other films. This sequel more closely resembles the original films in its increased violence, gore, and profanity and particularly in the terrifying feeling of complete helplessness of humans against the Aliens. In the old Alien films, the Aliens were very scary, but not so in the first Alien vs. Predator film. I was pleased to see that what they lost in the first film, they got back in the second.
Another complaint I had was the ridiculous appearance of the PredAlien, the creature that is produced when the facehugger plants its egg inside of a Predator instead of a human. Critic Matt Bird states that "aside from the kinda goofy dreadlocks it looks pretty neat" and I agree with him except for one thing: yes, the dreadlocks are the only thing wrong with its appearance, but I think the dreadlocks look absolutely ludicrous. They are an inexcusable offense to an idea that could have been extremely cool. After all the Aliens that come from humans don't have hair nor does the dog-Alien from Alien 3 have fur, so why should the PredAlien have dreadlocks? I gather that they were trying to make it resemble the creature it came from, which it should have, but that doesn't mean it should look like a hybrid between a Predator and an Alien, it was an Alien. It just happened to have come from a Predator. I think the primary difference between a PredAlien and a, for lack of a better word, human-Alien should be size and strength, in much the same way that the dog-Alien was different from a human-Alien in that it was quadruped in form.
Another complaint I had with the PredAlien was its ability to directly plant chestbursters into humans by mouth-to-mouth contact. It just made no sense that it would be able to do that. Bird referred to it as the "hybrid queen" and I have to admit that the idea that it was a queen never even occurred to me. It makes sense that it could have been; I suppose the queen could have come from any species. The movies never specify what causes some Aliens to be queens and other Aliens not to be, but I always assumed it was some kind of genetic difference between the facehuggers that plant the eggs: Some facehuggers have the "queen gene" and others do not. My only complaint with the PredAlien being a queen is that it should lay eggs which hatch facehuggers that then implant their eggs in humans like the traditional queen, not by vomiting them directly into people's mouths.
Another thing I hated about this movie was the characters. Before the Aliens begin killing people, we are introduced to a subplot about a teenage boy who has a crush on a girl. The only problem is, she has a boyfriend who is a jerk. That's right. This movie actually has an awkward love interest, something that does not belong in any Alien or Predator film. These characters are cliché, unimaginative, and portrayed by actors nowhere near as talented as the original films' Sigourney Weaver or Arnold Schwarzenegger. I realize some don't think the latter is all that great, but he is good at the roles he plays, which is more than can be said for the clowns in this cinematic joke. Critic David Nusair stated that "it's hard not to get a kick out of a third-act callback to the first Predator film wherein one character yells to another, 'get to the chopper!'" but I hated seeing the great film that is Predator so ridiculed by having its lines cut-and-pasted into this terrible one, although I was relieved that none of the non-Arnolds in the movie said to the Predator, "You are one ugly motherfucker."
This movie also suffered from a bad case of The New Star Wars Trilogy syndrome, meaning it had a lot of painfully obvious CGI, a major cinematic pet peeve of mine. Nowhere near as much as the Star Wars films, but any at all is too much and this movie has enough to go around. Critic War Wager stated in a fan review, "Interesting to note that that sequence was entirely CGI, they sure had me fooled on that one." I have to wonder if Wager just looked away from the screen and listened to this scene because anyone who has eyes could pick out all of the CGI in this sequence.
It also just didn't seem right to me to show a human using Predator weaponry. Just before the characters escape, one of them picks up the Predator's gun and uses it to keep the Aliens off of his friends as they escape. This was an offense to me because there is an underlying assumption from the Predator movies that humans can't effectively wield predator weapons. Even after you find the trigger, the weapon would be made for larger hands and stronger muscles than humans possess. Nonetheless, that boy wielded the weapon as easily as if it was a normal shotgun.
And the final thing to really make me angry about this movie was the ending. As they are flying away the military drops an A-bomb on the town to eradicate the Alien threat and our "heroes," being surrounded by U.S. troops after surviving the crash, relinquish their weapons, including the Predator gun. The ending scene shows the military officer who ordered the town destroyed being presented with the weapon. The woman showing it to him says, "The world isn't ready for this kind of technology." He responds, "Well it isn't for this world, is it?" So I gather that there was some kind of government conspiracy, but what was it? What did those words mean? I have no idea. I have no problem with a conspiracy in the movie, after all, in the old Alien movies there was always a conspiracy that the amoral Company wanted the Aliens for their bioweapons department, but the conspiracy has to be explained.
So, all in all, this was a pretty bad movie. When I finished watching it for the first time, I just had an overwhelming feeling of "is that all." To be fair, though, it had the odds stacked against it. It had a lot to live up to from the old movies and for some reason modern continuations or remakes of old film franchises rarely are good. Also, I enjoyed seeing the terror of the Aliens on screen again, although the Predator was given a "backseat" place in the plot. All of this in consideration, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem was terrible.